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tv   The Chris Matthews Show  NBC  October 8, 2012 12:00am-12:30am PDT

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>> this is the "chris matthews show." >> in america we celebrate success. >> i never thought the journey would be easy. >> the journey is our destiny. >> we are moving forward, america. chris: was that the wednesday night massacre or what? did mitt romney catch up and pass obama in one 90-minute performance? will the strong new jobseport help the president to take command? leading from behind? was there some hidden unknown logic to the president's decision to let his challenger wing his way from one position to another? why didn't barack obama force romney to own his record against the auto rescue and against the 47% and against showing his personal taxes. was there a reason obama didn't want 70 million people to know his best case? finally, rematch. will the town hall format of the next debate give barack
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obama a chance to show greater empathy. and will mitt romney be just as good when people ask the questions? hi, i'm chris matthews. welcome to the show. with us today, abc's sam donaldson, nbc's andrea mitchell, msnbc s.e. cupp and joe klein. the new jobs report gives the obama campaign a much-needed assist after the debacle wednesday night in denver. the debate's closing statements told the tale. the president was down and mitt romney was up. >> you know, four years ago we were going through a major crisis, and yet my faith and confidence in the american future is undiminished. >> it's an important election and i'm concerned about america. i'm concerned about the direction america has been taking over the last four years. what kind of america do you want to have for yourself and your children? chris: and the impact wednesday night can be seen at least four ways. first the media consensus, from
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the left, center and right. the media called the president's performance a failure and say mitt romney may get a second look now. second, the g.o.p. got a lift. the entire party from fundraising got a pick me up. third, first impressions. voters just tuning into this contest got a view of mitt romney better than anything he's done before. and fourth, big mo. the momentum had been going the president's way and appeared to be halted wednesday night. sam, huge impact of that debate wednesday night. >> big. think john kennedy of 1960, think ronald reagan in 1980. it's possibly that big because the president seemed to be on a glide path towards re-election and all of a sudden here comes the raging bull, mitt romney, out of the dark and they run for the safety exits instead of counterpunches and getting him hard. what happened to barack obama? i'm not certain. i don't know. but i know this, if he comes to the next two debates with the same demeanor and passive
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resistance, he's losing. >> you called it one of the worst performances of the time? >> one of the most inept performances by an incumbent president i've ever seen. i'm mystified. we do know these things about barack obama. we know he doesn't like to confront people. we know that -- chris: he doesn't like to fight with hillary clinton. >> he doesn't like to. he's really worried about appearing angry in public and that really isn't his natural demeanor but that was unilateral disarmament and was stunning. when mitt romney gives you an opening to talk about romney's accountant and doesn't say you have a terrific accountant. chris: s.e. cupp, your view, was it a reset for the challenger? >> they certainly think it was. i talked to some romney advisors and they see the reset in three parts. they think for supporters who really wanted to see a fight, they wanted to see this knockout, dragout fight, they got that. for undecideds who they call the tough customers, they think
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that this debate does what the ads have not been able to do which is spark their attention. for the soft obama voters of 2008, they think maybe this group is in play again. they think this is a hat trick moving forward. chris: let me ask you, we have a big jobs number, it was below eight and was promised three years ago and is below eight, 7.8. is it enough to give obama a reshot of momentum? >> it's certainly a boost. is it a sugar high? these numbers bounce around. chris: good for the next month, though. >> good for the next month but the final judgment will come the weekend before the election. if this ends up being revised upward and, you know, there is a problem right before election day, look, the job creation number is still anemic. we're still bouncing along on the ground of 1.9% g.d.p. so economic growth is still very slow. but certainly it is a great
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talking point for the president and on the face of it, more people are participating. they haven't given up, you have a percent of people joining the labor force trying to get jobs. and it is a good number. >> the numbers for july and august were both revised way upward. chris: it could have been so much worse. >> they have a trend here where we're going to gain at least 100,000 jobs a month. >> but a lot of the creation was in government jobs and that's something the republicans will jump on and manufacturing is still really down. chris: let's talk about romney who had the big week and about who he is because we watched him be a moderate governor of massachusetts, pro-choice and the health care plan was the model for the president's national plan and in this campaign he made all kinds of promises to the right whether it's the neocons or the religious right, who is the the real romney. he was so effervescent and exciting and winning on his personality. is this the real guy unleashed
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from these commitments. >> i don't want to be unkind but think it was the real romney, in the sense of his political career, going back to massachusetts and earlier, mitt romney has been able to change his position, renounce his position and do whatever he feels is necessary to meet the next group of voters right in front of him. look what he did about 47%. he said the other night in fox news to shawn habity, i didn't mean any of that or -- sean hannity, i didn't see any of that. and hurt him instead of saying let me explain what i meant to say, i said it ineloquently, but i think people are gaming the system -- i didn't mean any of that. chris: below what he is offering that day, that week, what's there? what's the hard-core of mitt romney? >> first of all, we know he's a very competitive guy and the best moments he's had the past year have all been in debates. he's been a very effective debater at times. but what we saw and what was the most maddening thing about it was that he was still slinging a lot of baloney.
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he said he didn't want the federal government to be involved in health care and then he said that he would guarantee people with pre-existing conditions that they would keep their insurance. the president never challenged him on this and there were at least 10 moments to do that. >> he said i will repeal obamacare the first day i'm president. of course presidents don't have the power to change the law by themselves, excuse me. but now he said and a few days earlier, i'll keep pre-existing conditions, i'll keep the kids. >> they took it back right after. >> they had taken it back. chris: he was on a sunday program and done it twice where he said we'll cover the pre-existing condition and wasn't true. >> it's telling about the new romney in this debate was that he was clearly trying to overcome the 47% problem which sam talked about by talking about empathy, i care, people are suffering and giving examples of people, the teacher in las vegas. he made it personal and did what democratic candidates
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normally do. chris: the right who asked him to make all these commitments throughout the campaign to ensure he's a conservative, they know the commitments and are they interested in him doing well instead of keeping the commitments. >> you'll have a contingent on the far right that are purists and don't want to hear any strain from that ideology and even if it means he loses, they're willing to go down with the ship. i think most people on the right and center right realize, ok, we have a shot at this now, let's do the best we can, let's shore it up and relax a little and let him do what he needs to do. chris: i think they've got a lot of leash out there for a guy who wants to win. >> they love anything that hurts barack obama more than life itself. chris: speaking of which, andrea, i want you to talk about this interview from romney's surrogate, who is out there all over the place, john sununu and you gave him a chance to take back what he said. let's take a look. the morning after the debate. >> what people saw last night i think was a president that revealed his incompetence, how louisiana and detached he is.
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-- how lazy and detached he. >> governor, kyle give -- i'll give you a chance and did you mean to calm the president of the united states barack obama lazy? >> yes. chris: i tried to think what you were thinking as a journalist and someone who knows american history and what you thought of that? >> i was clearly troubled, just using that phrase lazy and attaching it to this president, to any president but to this president had all sorts of resonance and unpleasant echoes. and i just wanted to give him a chance because is he a campaign co-chair. he's not just your average surrogate. this is john sununu. and later that same day, he went on fox and was asked, you don't think there will be a better prepared president obama onstage next week? and he said, quote, when you're not that bright, you can't get better prepared. mitt romney was aggressive but polite. that was a civil debate. this is not, i have to believe what mitt romney wants to be representing himself. >> let's hope not but john sununu said a few weeks ago barack obama was not a true
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american. he says these things. he will say whatever he thinks. >> it also fits into the grander picture, what you're seeing among conservative commentators now is this whole emperor has new clothes, has no clothes thing and the whole teleprompter from the last four years. they actually believe this guy isn't intelligent, which is crazy or it is bigoted. chris: i think it sounded ugly, i'll put it that way. your thoughts? >> i won't speak for all conservative commentators. chris: you don't have to. >> you certainly can make an argument and conservatives have been making an argument especially where foreign policy is concerned the administration has been incompetent. i don't take issue with sununu discussing the incompetence of this administration but to use words like "lazy" and "stupid" which i also heard, that feels lazy and a little easy. chris: i like the way you said that. in other words, a cheap shot at best. >> i wouldn't want him to keep doing it.
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chris: ok. >> thank you very much, conservatives. you're right, not all conservatives, just a very few. >> like when democrats called george w. bush stupid either. you can't be stupid and get this job. >> it's a lazy argument. chris: for mitt romney, he tries to overcome the stiffness in the debate. maybe his team played this for him hours before. >> governor, if kitty dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer? >> no, i don't, bernard, and i think you know i opposed the death penalty during all of my life. i don't see any evidence it's a deterrent and i think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime. chris: speaking of time travel, andrea, you were sitting on the panel that year, that very year. jim lehrer's book on the debate includes the panelists, including you discussed bernie's question in the greenroom and there was concern
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among your group about asking that question. what was the feeling then? >> the feeling was, you saw three women, ann compton, margaret warner, myself and bernie. bernie had one question to ask as the moderator and we each got two and the format was tight and controlled and had a feeling we were sharing notes because we cannot didn't want to repeat each other because there would be no opportunity to follow up. this is what he said he would ask. think back, 1988, people didn't can those questions and we looked coiled and maybe it's gender, do you really want to ask that about kitty dukakis and bring her in the campaign? he said yes. jim lehrer reports it correctly, we said do you really want to do that and he pushed back independently -- >> you know how bernard is. >> the thought is that's the only thing anybody remembered. i asked about the budget and about the nuclear triad and bernie asked the question that got the response that showed michael dukakis did not know how to react as a human. >> i love those mad dog questions because it gets the politicians out of their comfort zone. chris: let's look how it came
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down iconically, the dukakis moment showed he was robotic and had been out there and before the debate, "saturday night live" roasted dukakis and the inquiss tore -- of inquisitore played sam donaldson. >> you've been described as emotionally dead and cool and your advisors say you're sometimes distant and aloof, a bit of a cold fish but they say one of the reasons you trail in the polls is you're uninspiring and seem to be devoid of passion. >> sam, that kind of dispersion on my character quite frankly makes me -- well, there's no other word for it, enraged. enraged. [laughter] >> maybe i shouldn't say that in the heat of the moment. but i can't control myself. and i apologize for flying off
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the handle. i'm just sorry my kids had to see me like this. chris: that was before what happened. when we come back, the next debate is a town hall this year and it can't come soon enough for barack obama. does he have to win this one? plus "scoops and predictions" right from the notebooks of
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chris: welcome back. the president is probably lucky the next debate is a town hall style event where real people will ask the questions of the candidates and he will be like bill clinton perhaps in the famous 1992 town hall when clinton so clearly beat george bush by feeling the pain of a questioner. not as famous as thisis town ha moment in 2004, of course, john kerry was the one who forgot to play to the real people out there. his one key charge is about bush's personal timber
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holdings, gave w. a chance to look far more human. >> the president got $84 from a timber company he owns and is counted as a small business. dick cheney is counted as a small business. that's how they do things. that's just not right. >> i own a timber company? that's news to me. [laughter] >> need some wood? chris: will barack obama do well in the town hall format? we asked the matthews meter, 12 of our regulars, will obama make effective use of the stuff he kept off the table in the first debate? 10 say yes and two say no. andrea, he couldn't do worse. >> on "hardball" the night after the debate, you did a better debate. chris: i had the gift of hindsight. is he going to do it this thursday? >> the format is actually better for him because he'll be talking to people and reacting to them but at the same time i
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don't know there's ever as good a format as the first one which was free sailing. he had unlimited time to make his points and respond to the agenda. chris: the other guy proved how much time he can take. >> the most memorable moments in all the debates i've watched have happened in this town hall meeting format and most of them have involved body language. the limitations of this format is that it is tougher to get angry and respond in a tough way to your opponent because people might say -- might grown and say they didn't like it. >> the format, you have to show up to win and president obama did not show up on wednesday. >> it's easier in the format to show emotion. it's easier to say to a woman out there, i feel your pai and i would just say to barack obama, don't wear a watch. don't point to your watch as george her bert walker did.
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chris: welcome back. sam, tell me something i don't know. >> i think the four leaders of congress on both sides are getting together and frankly, may before election day promise in the lame duck session they'll come to grips with the fiscal cliff rather than putting it over. i hope that happens. >> there's going to be a drip, drip, drip every day, more documents about this benghazi situation and we've got the hearings coming up this coming week and darryl issa is fast and furious and really going after it. chris: the worst case for the president? >> the worst case is it they
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actually show there was hard intelligence and they totally screwed up. chris: of terrorism. >> and should have known and didn't prevent the death of an american ambassador. >> expect it to be about joe biden's amazing debate performances. i talked to some folks in the paul ryan camp and they're saying look, this is his first time out, joe biden is going up against the likes of hillary clinton and barack obama. and he's a skilled debater. chris: sandbagging it. >> he beat sarah palin, right? >> well, what's to say about that? >> in private meetings when the iranians were here for the u.n. general assembly, they were dropping broad hints they were ready to make a nuclear deal after the election. take that with a grain of salt because the spreek leaders, the guy who makes the -- supreme leaders, the guy who makes the decisions this week were watching the iranian economy collapse so a deal may be imminent. chris: good news for everybody. when we come back, the big question of the week, who do you pick to win the
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vice-presidential debate this thursday be right back. >> "the chris matthews show" is brought to you by charles schwab. let's talk about the personal attention you and have you heard of the new dialing procedure
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for the 408 and 669 area codes? no, what is it? starting october 20, 2012, if you have a 408 or 669 number, you'll need to dial 1 plus the area code plus the phone number for all calls.
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o.k., but what if i have an 408 number and i'm calling a 408 number? you'll still need to dial 1 plus the area code plus the phone number. so when in doubt, dial it out! chris: welcome back. vice president joe biden, u.s. congressman paul ryan have their vice-presidential debate, the only one, this thursday, which brings us to the obvious big question for us, who's going to win? sam? >> i expect ryan to come out like mitt romney, a raging bull. but i expect biden not to play barack obama. i watched biden. i think he'll counterpunch and do it effectively and i think if he does, he wins. chris: any thoughts? >> there will be a lot of worries. this will be very interactive and a great debate. i'll wait before i see it. >> no fair. >> she reserves the right. >> i'm going to call it a draw. i think joe biden is pretty
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good in debates. and paul ryan is very smart. i think he's going to have a great night. i think they're going to meet -- chris: one thing about the media i'm not a media critic, but i think we say gaffe and in his case i think we are gaffes and used the wrong word and could have said the middle class is being squeezed instead of buried and no comment about it but if somebody says something in the back room and i don't give a damn about half the country, that's not a gaffe but a revelation. >> biden by the way knows this debate is a really big deal. chris: yeah. >> biden has to keep it together. but if he does, he has a major advantage and that is most of the stuff that ryan is selling, especially on the economy is just not true. it has a proven track record of failure. chris: is he the kind of guy to do that? >> the record, that's what he has to do. chris: if he keeps it serious and sober, will he beat joe biden, doesn't he have to be the puppy dog that slobbers all over you? >> he's planning to go after
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paul ryan's budget cuts and make them specific and make them real. you can talk about the fiscal cliff and you can talk about it but making the initial ryan budget, not the revised budget. that's what they'll talk about. >> he can say congressman, you want my 94-year-old mother to make a marked decision on medicare, that's cruel? chris: you know what my grandpa would say to that? a great roundtable, sam donaldson, andrea mitchell, s.e. cupp, and joe klein. that's the show. see you back here next week.
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